Interview with Pierre Gaudillat, Team Manager/Senior Technical Specialist, Battery development

How will the NEXTCELL project be developed?

NEXTCELL project is a very interesting and challenging project on which we are developing a new cell thanks to 17 partners with key competences from the material chemistry to electric vehicle and stationary applications. The whole cell will be gellified, including the anode, the cathode, and the separator thanks to the development of three new synergetic gellified composite materials. This achievement is possible by the combination of the results from two research lines: on the one hand, the development of high voltage electrolytes and polymers developed by SOLVAY and, on the other,the solventless battery gellification process co-developed by SOLVAY and CEA. The combination of these two families of technological breakthroughs leads to the development of the gellified composite electrodes and the gellified composite separator, manufactured by three specific solventless processes.
This project will be divided in different phases. During the first phase, we will work mainly to define the application use cases which will be decomposed down to the cell material level. After that, we will be working on the main materials processing at lab level and then at a large-scale which is a key point for the technology industrialisation. This will be done supported by electro-chemical simulation, performance model at electrode level, interface stability & aging prediction. In the later stage of the project, we will build cell prototypes up to 20 Ah cells to demonstrate the cell performance on a battery cell testbed.

What impact will this project have on the lithium-ion battery technology market?

The gellified cell developed by NEXTCELL will not only provide Europe with cutting edge 3b cells but will also tackle three key parameters hindering a greater market penetration of Li-Ion batteries technology: firstly, costs, by optimising its manufacturing processes, reducing capital and operating costs of future Giga-factories by avoiding evaporation of solvents and the electrolyte-filling step. Secondly, Safety, by producing intrinsically safe cells, avoiding the presence of low boiling point components in the electrodes and separator. Finally, Sustainability by reducing energy consumption by 50% against state-of-the-art and avoiding the use of toxic organic solvents.